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John Stobaugh
Stobaugh Cotton Consultants, Inc.
McGehee, Ark.

King Cotton is coming back, but is it looking head on into the light of a pigweed freight train? With fields solid white (looking much like snow banks) and football on Saturdays, now is the time to begin gathering information to combat the pigweed invasion. The pest is here, and we must become proactive. Observe fields while harvesting, look across ditches at your neighbor’s fields, check old harvested corn fields and make notes on possible problem fields.

To me, there are three stages that describe a producer in regard to pigweed. The first stage is denial; the second, “I’m going to really bear down on pigweed next year;” and then, finally, recovery. The quicker a consultant can get his client into the recovery stage, the better it is for the whole farming community.

Start working on your strategy now. Talk and listen and try to have your plan in place by the end of the Sugar Bowl. When the time comes to begin burndown, enact your plan and stick to it. It should include all of the popular phrases, such as “zero tolerance,” “start clean, stay clean,” “be on time,” “rotation, rotation,” “time to chop,” “rotate chemistries,” “tankmix,” “extra pre-emergent,” “more boot prints in the fields,” “residuals at layby,” “cold, hard steel” and “soil seed bank reduction.” Remember that pigweeds can produce millions of seeds per acre.

We in southeast Arkansas are learning what “zero tolerance” is, even though we are a little shaky on the definition of “zero.” We are looking at other chemistry, and more and more interest is being shown in other herbicide- resistant varieties available in my area. This year, especially, we learned firsthand that there is a large difference between two inches and 12 inches when talking about weed size. It’s way more than just 10 inches; therefore, timely herbicide applications are critical. The best chance of achieving good control of pigweeds is when the weeds are very small.

Most of my clients are landowners as well as farmers. We are all becoming very aware of how pigweed can and does affect the value of the land as well as the bottom line. I am blessed to have a great group of clients who are working extremely hard trying to stay ahead of the learning curve. I encourage everyone to start planning now!

A good source of up-to-date information from the University of Arkansas Extension Service is a fact sheet, “Prevention and Control of Glyphosate-Resistant Pigweed in Soybean and Cotton,” which is available at: www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/publications/PDF/FSA-2152.pdf. Another good Arkansas source for pigweed control information is weed scientist, Dr. Ken Smith, at smithken@uamont.edu.

As the modules head to the gin, loans and bills are being paid, and, hopefully, King Cotton will survive for years to come.

Click here to ask John Stobaugh a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

• B.S. in Science – University of Arkansas at Monticello
• M.E. in Supervision & Administration – University of
  Arkansas at Little Rock
• Began working for his father in 1973 and inherited the
  business in 1977
• Consults on cotton, soybeans and corn
• Ann, John’s wife of 34 years who works with him,
  will walk cotton fields, but not corn or soybean fields.
• Son, John, a Texas A&M graduate, helps out each
  summer when he can.
• Likes to spend time at his family’s hunting camp with
  family and friends enjoying the outdoors

Recap:
Protect King Cotton From Pigweed

1. Now is the time to start gathering information to combat the pigweed invasion.

2. Observe fields while harvesting, look across ditches at your neighbor’s fields, check old harvested corn fields and make notes on possible problem fields.

3. Your weed control plan should include all of the following: “Zero tolerance,” “start clean, stay clean,” “be on time,” “rotation, rotation,” “time to chop,” “rotate chemistries,” “tankmix,” “extra pre-emergent,” “more boot prints in the fields,” “residuals at layby,” “cold, hard steel” and “soil seed bank reduction.”

4. The best chance of achieving good control of pigweeds is when the weeds are very small.

5. Landowners and farmers are becoming very aware of how pigweed can and does affect the value of the land and the bottom line.

6. A good source of up-to-date information from the University of Arkansas Extension Service is a fact sheet, which is available at: www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/publications/
PDF/FSA-2152.pdf.

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